Christchurch Quake Information Update 10

( ChristchurchQuake information Update 10 – 1700 hrs 4 September 2010

Magnitude 7.1 earthquake occurred in Christchurch at 0435 hours, 4 September 2010. Several aftershocks of between magnitude 3.9 and 5.2 have occurred and more aftershocks are expected. The likelihood of aftershocks of up to around magnitude 6 will remain for the next week.

There has been widespread minor structural damage to buildings and smaller bridges. Across the Canterbury region the delivery of water, sewerage and power services has been impaired but is being restored.

One person is in the Intensive Care Unit of Christchurch Hospital with serious injuries; a small number have been treated for fractures and lacerations. All hospitals are functional, although Christchurch Hospital is operating on generator power.

A severe weather warning for gale force wind on Sunday that could place significant stress on already damaged buildings and damage temporary repairs to buildings. On Monday evening rain is expected in the Canterbury region with 150 mm falling around the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers.

Canterbury Regional Civil Defence Emergency Coordination Centre is operational. Most of the Emergency Operations Centres in the Canterbury region are activated. The National Crisis Management Centre is activated.

Christchurch City Council Civil Defence and Selwyn District Council have declared a state of local emergency.

Water supplies
Water and sewage have been affected in several regions. There is expected to be limited flooding in places as a result of the damage to pipes. Residents should conserve water. For information about storing or treating water click here

All Selwyn residents are being asked to conserve water, but especially in Rolleston. Rolleston water supply is contaminated. Minimise water use, e.g. flushing toilets.

Urban Search and Rescue
NZ Fire Service Task Force (TF) 2 in Christchurch is deployed on task. Both TF 1 (Palmerston North) and TF 3 (Auckland) will be deployed by air to Christchurch with limited gear. The remainder of TF 1 with full gear has sailed on the InterIslander. The remainder of TF 3 with full gear have driven to Palmerston North to stage for possible future tasking.

Power was restored to 77 per cent of Christchurch city by midday. Power is expected to be restored to 90 per cent or greater by tonight. Rural areas in central Canterbury are largely out of power as a result of downed poles or lines.

EQC earthquake damage claims
Homeowners with insured properties that have been damaged by the earthquake can lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission. Call EQC’s free phone number 0800 DAMAGE 326 243. People have up to 3 months to make a claim. EQC Chief Executive Ian Simpson says he expects thousands of claims over the next few days and advises people who strike a busy signal to keep trying the lines.

Christchurch hospital is operating on generators but is fully functional. The building has been damaged but this is not affecting its response to the event. One minor facility in the Canterbury District Health Board has reported minor damage but is operational. Ambulance services have now returned to normal levels of operation.

Significant damage has been reported in Christchurch and some collapses in inland central Canterbury. Exact numbers are not yet available but building damage is being collated by responding agencies.

Commercial property
There has been damage to commercial properties. Triaging of damaged buildings in the city is occurring.
Christchurch City Council and other authorities have activated the Building Safety Evaluation process. Several roads have been closed so buildings can be assessed. If you are a retailer or building owner and have any concerns over the structural integrity of your building, do not enter it. Aftershocks present a real threat to already weakened structures.

Sewerage lines have been affected – the extent to which is not yet clear. Streams and waterways are likely to be contaminated by sewage. Public health has issued advice to the public to boil water.

For information on protecting yourself in an emergency, visit the Ministry of Health website
For advice on food safety, visit NZ Food Safety

The State Highway system is open throughout the Canterbury region with the exception of State Highway 77 between Glentunnel and Rakaia River Bridge and that is expected to be open tonight. All state highway bridges across the region are open to traffic. Lyttelton tunnel has been reopened after inspection. The Canterbury Emergency Coordinating Centre has reported that some road bridges in the city centre are down. Evens Pass Road has been closed due to landslips.

Most lines of the rail network in the South Island are currently closed (the open lines are Kaikoura-Picton, Dunedin-Invercargill, Invercargill-Ohai). On the Rolleston to Greymouth line track buckling three kilometres from Rolleston has made the track impassable. The Belfast-Waipara line has suffered misalignment for 5km of length. Christchurch- Belfast line also has misalignment of the track. The Belfast to Rangiora line will take over 48 hours to be repaired.

Port Status
A visual inspection of the Lyttelton harbour has indicated nil damage. A gradual resumption of activities is planned.

Christchurch airport opened at 1330 hours. The domestic terminal has suffered some damage and has been evacuated. Wigram airport is no longer operational.

Building safety
Christchurch City Council and other authorities have activated its Building Safety Evaluation process. Several roads have been closed so buildings can be assessed. If you are a retailer or building owner have any concerns over the structural integrity of your building, do not enter it. There are numerous aftershocks which present a real threat to already weakened structures.

People in the affected area should:
Expect aftershocks. Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on.
Assess your home or workplace for damage. If the building appears unsafe get everyone out. When outside, watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. Stay out of damaged areas.

Look for and extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so. Fire is a significant hazard following earthquakes.

Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.

Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.

Help people who require special assistance – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.

Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. People should act on it promptly.

More information
For more information about the quake visit
For public preparedness information:
Environment Canterbury media release information
(Image: GNS Science)

Media Release from Civil Defence of New Zealand at 5pm on 4 September 2010